How to find out the real mileage on a car you buy

More and more cars are sold/bought on the secondary market. With the growth of transactions, the number of fraudulent schemes also increases. Unscrupulous sellers try to sell cars with problems at high prices, hiding defects and technical defects. More often, they “twist” the odometer reading to decrease the mileage, as a car with minimal mileage can be sold for more.

Ads on commercial sites

Before you buy a used car, look for it on various electronic commercial sites. For example, they offer you a seven year old Hyundai with mileage of 120,000 km showing on the odometer, but you have found an earlier ad for this particular car and it shows 200,000 km mileage. The owner could not sell the car with the mileage for the needed money and decided to cheat. And he simply forgot to remove the old ad!
However, this method is time-consuming and imperfect. After all, even after a long search you may not come across the previous ad.

Electronic databases

It is much easier to use digital databases. They collect information about cars from various official sources.

Diagnostic scanners at the car dealership

Here you will be tested the electronic control units in your car. The computer diagnostics will show the real values of all the instruments. You can drive up to the nearest car service center, but if the owner refuses to do it, you can go another way: connect the control unit through a USB cable OBD to a laptop with specialized software.

Chips on the body

In the case of visual inspection, you can determine the real mileage by indirect signs. There are no exact numbers here, but the mileage on the odometer should correspond to the condition of the car’s exterior and interior.

The more kilometers the car has passed, the more chips, scratches, scuffs, divorces and other imperfections on its body. Most often they are found on the hood, sills, front bumper. Under them there may be traces of corrosion. If you have noticed on a five years old car, being reviewed for purchase, at least two or three chips visible to the naked eye, we can conclude that the car has covered not less than 100 thou km. Accordingly, the more defects, the more mileage.

Upholstery condition

According to the condition of the upholstery of a vehicle interior you can calculate its approximate mileage. If the seats are upholstered with cloth, it usually begins to fray after the car passes 150 000 km. Cloth seats fade, lose their shape, there are noticeable abrasions on them and on armrests.

If the interior is upholstered with eco leather, it starts to crack in the bends after approx. 100 thousand km run. As for the seams, they are torn at 120 thousand km mileage, because of this the upholstery is spreading.

The condition of the steering wheel

Examining the interior, don’t forget to pay attention to a steering wheel. If it is covered with leather, on which greasy abrasions are evident, it means the car has passed more than 70 000 km. Exactly by this time such signs appear. The car has passed more than 150k km, the steering wheel is shiny, as if greased with oil.

Condition of the mats

Scuffs on the mats indicate high mileage. Service life of standard products is about 110 thousand km. If the car owner is a woman, the mats fail much faster. If the auto lady drives the car in heeled shoes, holes appear on the plastic base.

Condition of the pedals

The pedals are the easiest to determine the mileage. Rubber pads completely wear out after a car has passed 300 thousand km. So, if you have seen, that pedals are worn down to a metallic base, and the odometer reads 100 thousand, it means, it has been twisted. At this figure the wear of pedals must be minimal.

Peripheral parts

Pay attention to the condition of the peripheral parts, especially their newness on a newer car. Every system has a lifespan. In particular the water pump is usually replaced after 100 thousand km run. If it sparkles with novelty on the purchased car, and the run on the odometer is about 50 thousands km, there is obviously something wrong.

On a condition of brake discs you can also define the real run of the car. They run about 150 000 km with careful driving. If mileage is more, the grooves on discs are well visible through the spokes of a wheel. Fresh brake discs indicate that they have been recently replaced. For what reason? Is it because they have been worn due to high mileage?

In general, pay attention to everything:

  • Looseness in the doors;
  • the looseness of the ignition key;
  • frayed knobs and buttons;
  • scratches on the plastic trim.

Odometer correction is not a criminal offense, so dishonest car sellers often resort to this method. But you should be vigilant not to waste your money. Our tips are here to help.

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